Written by: Alex Popa
With today’s technological advancements, you can literally assume the identity of another computer online. By using certain protocols that give you control over a certain device on the network, you can achieve certain things that you normally can’t.
For example, you can overcome the geo-restrictions that are placed on some websites.
You can achieve this using either a VPN or an RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol). While most people are confused by these two concepts and believe they are one and the same thing, there are some differences to them.
In short, these are the main distinctions between VPNs and RDPs:
As most of you probably know, VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. A VPN provider will encrypt your internet traffic and superimpose certain security protocols over it.
This increases your general protection against unauthorized access from the outside. It also hides your IP and makes it near-impossible for anyone to track down your data.
One of the basic features of a good online security provider is that it helps you bypass certain geo-restrictions or access Netflix, for example.
Another reason why you would want to use a VPN is that it allows you to remotely access a network. With this in mind, you can work from home, while accessing your files from another location. The server database of the company you work for, for example.
However, there are disadvantages to using a VPN as well. It sucks that there are large bandwidth requirements that come with VPN usage. There are files that are constantly transferred to your computer, and therein lies the problem.
The encryption and security granted by the virtual connection completely negate foreign access to your network. This is a tool ideally used by individual users who want to increase their anonymity and privacy.
A major concern for a VPN is that accessing databases through this network could spell disaster. If they aren’t correctly configured, the databases can become corrupt and revoke access indefinitely.
In other words, be careful of the VPN you’re using because it can fuck up your system big time and cripple your privacy at the same time.
Pros – easy to maintain and troubleshoot, exponentially more secure and encrypted with top-notch algorithms, technical issues are easy to solve.
Cons – has large bandwidth requirements, will slow down your speed, it might infect your system with some strain of the bubonic plague if it’s not configured properly.
The Remote Desktop Protocol was originally devised by Microsoft to better maintain and troubleshoot their servers. It was merely a technical tool that increased efficiency.
However, it has since become available on all platforms. There are many opensource programs that function as an RDP, such as FreeRDP. Its main function is to help you access a distant computer or network, and mirror its graphical interface.
Hijacking, basically. This is what RDP is all about. You are taking over a certain computer as if you were there. It’s quite similar to TeamViewer.
One of the best things about it is that you not only have access to that particular device and its resources, but you can also make use of the resources of the overall network.
This means that you can execute certain network licensed software that you wouldn’t be able to run otherwise.
Or if you need to do some highly strenuous tasks that require a large computational power, you can use the remote device to achieve this. Controlling it from a distance means that you can make use of its features, capabilities, and technological complexity through a simple connection.
You can harbor the power of a supercomputer through a laptop.
However, the main issue with RDPs is that they are largely unencrypted and unsecured. Everyone can get access to that network, just as you did. Moreover, the connection is doomed to be excruciatingly slow.
After all, you’re sending many different commands through the network. Files, app commands, mouse movements, system protocols, and plenty of other information. This is not the cause if you’re using an RDP to connect to a device near you.
A big downside is that the host machine you’re accessing can very easily be hijacked by someone else as well. Unless it has powerful sysadmin security protocols implemented, another RDP user can take over the connection on the fly.
For security purposes, a VPN will almost always trump an RDP. The latter is insecure and lack in the encryption protocols of a good online security provider. You can never be sure when another RDP user or a hacker hijacks the system you’ve been accessing.
Moreover, an RDP is definitely not suited for usage in an environment where each employee has his own machine that he carries to and from work. You obviously cannot turn every device into a Remote Desktop system, and you want them to be protected at all times.
As such, you will want to access a Dedicated IP network. You guessed it, these are provided by VPNs.
Whether you need a VPN or an RDP, it all depends on whether you’re a business or an individual user.
If you’re an individual user:
If you’re a business:
All in all, if you’re not a system admin owning a company with hundreds of employees, then you’ll probably never need to use an RDP. VPNs are your best bet for a safe and secure journey through the digital seas.
In this sense, take a look at NordVPN, IPVanish, and CyberGhost. These three take it upon themselves to deliver the absolute best private networks in the industry. With hundreds of thousands of users worldwide, they are the three most reliable VPNs on the market.
Go private and anonymous, go VPNs!